The Process

How we get from estimate to design and build.

1. Estimate & Bid

Providing a project estimate to a client supplies the crucial information necessary to evaluate the feasibility of their potential project.  However, it is not necessarily a commitment from either side to move forward with the project.  The goal is to help the client figure out a way to build their project within their budget while exceeding their expectations.

Preliminary budgets and estimates are developed to help clients assess the viability of their project. After going through this initial phase with the client their potential projects sometimes  turn out to be too complex or involve too much risk to proceed any further at this time.  If this is the case, the preliminary estimate and budget has provided its value by turning individuals away from an otherwise uncertain venture.

There are different techniques used in developing the projects preliminary budget such as square-foot and unit-cost estimates.  Square foot estimates help clients determine whether or not their project is feasible.  A more refined estimating practice that is used is an industry-standard unit cost technique.  Square footages are multiplied by the costs of materials and labor to help refine the initial estimates.

Finally, assembly estimates are used to help calculate overall construction costs by considering each separate component of a project such as foundations, flooring, roofing and windows. Depending on the level of detail desired this technique is sometimes preferred by the clients to the more general approach of the square foot estimate above as it offers them a “laundry list” of items that can be revisited if budgets are being exceeded.

When estimating a project and developing an initial budget the client can expect to be provided with enough information to make well-informed decisions regarding project requirements.  This information is provided in both narrative form as well as with numerical values which will help define both the level and scope of work to be performed. If budgets are becoming strained “value-engineering” options can be presented which can be considered by the client to help rein in the numbers and keep the project achievable.

Final estimates provide the most detail and accuracy and are presented to clients only after the necessary analysis has been conducted during the initial stages of the project.  This typically involves receiving written proposals from partners, consultants and subcontractors. Once thoroughly analyzed they help form a firm budget that the project will be built to.

Once the project estimating is complete and budgets are set a commitment can be made to the client which is accompanied by a projected schedule and completion date. By following these standard estimating practices the client can be confident that realistic budgets have been created which will help enable to the project to be run smoothly without cost overruns.

2. Design & Plan

Working with the client while construction documents are developed is what happens during the designing and planning phase of the project. 

As the technical drawings are being produced, the client is engaged in a very interactive and collaborative process. We work with the clients to develop programming requirements which consists of determining the specific needs and desired functions of the various spaces that make up the project.  We develop an understanding of how the spaces were previously used, the current status of the space, and what the desired future plan is for the space. Programming, the foundation for the design effort, is essential to informing the aesthetics and functionality of the project.

Once the project has been properly evaluated the appropriate amount of time is spent fine tuning the layout, organization and design of the areas of the project.  In close consultation with clients, the design team refines the space planning as the plans are developed to satisfy the projects needs.  This phase is the most interactive where client input is not only necessary but encouraged.  We want the client to be fully engaged and invested in the process as much as we are.  Periodic meetings are held at which time materials are presented, explained and selected.  Taking a wholistic approach to design the goal is to let the individual parts of the project inform one another so everything comes together in a cohesive manner.

If necessary, the appropriate consultants are introduced which helps ensure all aspects of the project are thoroughly and professionally evaluated.  In addition to the various professional consultants at our disposal we also pull from a wide range of industry professionals that can lend their expertise from a construction perspective.  We find engaging both design and construction professionals during this phase of the project helps ensure fewer issues arise during the actual construction of the project.

Regardless of the size or scope of the clients project the same care and attention to details and the process is provided.  The appropriate professionals will be enlisted to help source materials, put together plans and establish and verify the project’s budget and scope throughout the entire design process. Projects can be as small as renovating a single room or as large as building from the ground up.  Even though some projects are larger than others they all require the same amount of care and attention.

After programming schematics, plans, specifications, and construction documents have been determined, the planning & design phase concludes as things transition over to Construction Services, which oversees the construction and execution of the project.

3. Build & Construct

BCA prides itself as being a true Design-Build firm with the ability to offer its clients a level of confidence that will not be found elsewhere. 

We are the single solution for a faster and more cost-effective process and project.  The Design-Build project structure allows the client to integrate the services of architects, interior designers, engineers and constructors throughout the design and construction phases of their project. The increasing complexity of construction projects creates the need for design professionals to be trained in all phases of the project, including the construction phase.  By relying on the architects inherent understanding of how the construction of the project is going to be structured and sequenced allows them to approach things in a more practical manner.  This both alleviates conflicts during construction which in turn saves time and money.  Projects are more likely to be completed faster and within budget.

While the products used today may have become more sophisticated and complex the way in which a building is built remains the same.  You must rely on qualified and skilled craftsman to bring the design to life with their hands.  There is, however, a wide range of building products and systems which need to be assembled and installed by properly qualified professionals.  During the construction phase of the project code officials are involved and perform periodic inspections at key milestones to ensure the most current standards are being followed.  While it is the design professionals who determine user needs and design a building to meet those needs, it is the construction team that is ultimately responsible for ensuring the drawings and specifications are being followed. 

The construction process is a highly organized process which requires skilled and experienced tradesmen and managers to see the process through.  This team consists of manufacturer representatives, the craftsmen who assemble them on the building site, the contractors who employ and coordinate the work of the craftsmen, and the construction managers who specialize in aspects such as quality control and quality assurance.

The construction of any size project requires collaboration across multiple disciplines. The project management team not only keeps a close eye on the budget but is also ultimately responsible for supervising the other professionals involved in the construction process.  Issues involving zoning requirements, environmental impact of the job, scheduling, budgeting, safety, availability and transportation of building materials, logistics as well as inconvenience to the public and client must all be considered and properly accounted for.

Construction today cannot be undertaken without the consideration of sustainable practices due to the development of efficiency codes.  This has prompted the development of new construction technologies and methods. Many seek to improve efficiency and performance while reducing construction waste and saving the client in money in the long run.  Due to the complexity of modern day projects one of the best current trends in the design and construction industry is the integration of previously separated specialties. In the past, architects, interior designers, engineers and general contractors were more likely to be entirely separate companies.  It is this firms belief that bridging the gap between the “design” and “construction” allows us to rely on the experts from all the necessary fields that provides each necessary skill. This provides clients with “one-stop shopping” for their construction project, from beginning to end.

4. Deliver

The means in which any type of project is designed and constructed is an important consideration prior to beginning a project as it has significant impacts on cost, risk and the overall schedule. We feel that a successful project culminates when it is seamlessly turned over to the client to fulfill the function it was designed and built to serve.

While the “traditional” means of delivering a construction project creates a clear separation between a projects design and construction process, here at BCA it is not only the design and construction phase but also the completion and successful delivery of a project that lets us know we have done our job properly.  Many builders and clients rely solely on the lowest price to complete the project when evaluating the team to be selected for the job. We focus more on the overall value our team brings to the project.  From the initial steps of estimating and budgeting a project, through the design and construction phases, to finally the delivery to the client, the time, money and stress saved makes the overall value of our process very apparent.  By enlisting the services of a professional architect that will be intimately involved with every aspect of the project, from  inception to completion, ensures that the initial vision of the design is delivered to the client in its intended form.

When the client chooses to work with our team to deliver the construction project from start to finish expectations are not only met, they are exceeded. Since our team is responsible for both the design and the construction components, pricing changes are kept to a minimum, and are usually isolated only to those instances where unknown conditions or client requests necessitate cost increases.  Because the different members of the design and construction teams have been clearly identified to the client conflicts are kept to a minimum and project delivery is a seamless process.

The design-build method provides the ability to deliver a project on a tight schedule.  In fact, portions of the project can be split up and delivered in a package approach, where individual components are designed and built as needed to achieve the final completion date. By allowing the client to have a clearly established maximum price of the project early on, there is inherently a significant amount of cost control throughout the project.  This allows for work to be completed without cost overruns which would otherwise delay the completion and eventual turnover of the project.

While the design-build project delivery method is typically used for construction projects where the owner has a clear idea of their requirements prior to starting the design, it also has the added advantage of accommodating schedule constraints.  By incorporating early participation from the construction team, a streamlined design can be developed that is directed specifically towards a project objective. By keeping the client highly involved in the project as a crucial member of the team, this method of project delivery provides opportunities for minimizing costs and increasing efficiency through cooperation of the team members.  This increased collaboration reduces overall risk and allows for the delivery of the project to be an efficient and enjoyable experience for all parties involved.

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